from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A rocket engine used to retard, arrest, or reverse the motion of a vehicle, such as an aircraft, missile, or spacecraft.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small rocket engine on a larger rocket or spacecraft designed to slow or reverse its motion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small rocket engine on a larger rocket or spacecraft that is fired to slow or alter its course


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • There is no atmosphere where parachutes can be used, so it has to retrorocket all the way down.

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  • "We could very well be seeing rock, or we could be seeing exposed ice in the retrorocket blast zone," said Ray Arvidson of Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., co-investigator for the robotic arm.

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  • Aug. 20, 1960:After a day in orbit Sputnik 5fires its retrorocket, and when it lands safely, two dogs inside, Strelka and Belka, become the first living creatures to return to Earth from space.

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  • Without giving him an explanation, they had instructed Glenn not to jettison his retrorocket pack in hopes its retention would help keep a loose heat shield in place.

    Riding Rockets

  • Thus . . . the transporter, which eliminated any need for the goofy retrorocket landings, was born.

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  • At that time Claggett would send a radio signal which would activate a small retrorocket in each satellite, causing it to drop dutifully into its assigned position around the Moon.


  • On re-entry, a glitch involving a retrorocket made the ship rotate swiftly, and the landing capsule was slow to jettison the service module.

    The Seattle Times

  • The 27-year-old cosmonaut's mission lasted just 108 minutes and was fraught with drama: a break in data transmission, glitches involving antennas, a retrorocket and the separation of modules.

    The Seattle Times

  • If you take a look at marine turbine's retrorocket, the jet turbine they outfitted in that pickup can do 800 miles to a tank and the engine can be tuned to burn multiple fuels.

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  • He assumed a single stage rocket, limited to 1-G acceleration, providing all the energy for the trip, launched vertically, requiring a retrorocket to slow it down when returning, and assuming a very low exhaust velocity for the propellant.



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